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Sand Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata)

Life history

Species overview

Sand Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata), a Wisconsin Special Concern plant, is found on sand dunes and old beach ridges near Lake Michigan. Blooming occurs from April to June. The optimal identification period for this species is .

Synonyms: Coreopsis lanceolata var. lanceolata, Coreopsis lanceolata var. villosa


  • Distinguishing characteristics: Distinguished from var. villosa by its mostly glabrous stem and leaves.
  • Flower characteristics: Inflorescence of up to a few heads on long, naked peduncles; disk yellow, 1 to 2 cm wide, inner bracts longer and broader than outer; ray flowers 6 to 10, yellow, 1 to 3 cm long, notched.
  • Fruit characteristics: Achenes 2 to 3mm long, winged, orbicular; pappus 2 short barbs.
  • Leaf characteristics: Alternate, mostly around base, linear to lance-linear, simple or rarely with up to 2 lateral lobes; lower leaves with petioles; upper leaves sessile


  • Blooming phenology: April to June
  • Fruiting phenology:
  • Optimum time to identify: The optimal identification period for this species is


  • Growth form: Erect forb
  • Vegetative reproduction:
  • Life cycle: Perennial
  • Comments: Associates include: Pinus banksiana, P. resinosa, P. strobus, Picea glauca, Juniperus communis var. depressa, Juniperus horizontalis, Shepherdia canadensis, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Ammophila breviligulata, Smilacina stellata, Arabis lyrata, Lilium philadelphicum.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Sand Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.

Documented locations of Coreopsis lanceolata in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.

Summary Information
State StatusSC
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS2
Global RankG5
Tracked by NHIY

Habitats and landscapes

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

General habitat information

  • Habitat description: Found on sand dunes and old beach ridges near Lake Michigan.
  • Soils: Sandy soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Sand Coreopsis. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).

Natural communities score
Great Lakes Ridge and Swale 2
Great Lakes Dune 3

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Sand Coreopsis. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Species guidance

The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.

Avoidance measures

These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.

  • No avoidance measures have been developed for this species.

Management guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • Avoid any activities which destabilize the dune, including the use of off-road vehicles, removal of native vegetation and pedestrian recreational overuse.
  • Minimize disturbance to hydrology, including soil disturbance from rutting.
  • Avoid disturbance to shorelines and the forest-beach interface.


Sand Coreopsis Photo.

Photo © Steve Hurst.

Sand Coreopsis Photo.


Photo © Robert H. Read.

Sand Coreopsis Photo.


Photo © Kitty Kohout.

Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [exit DNR].

Last revised: Wednesday, May 05, 2021
Southwest Savanna Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Western Coulees and Ridges Southeast Glacial Plains Central Sand Hills Central Lake Michigan Coastal Central Sand Plains Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northeast Sands Western Prairie North Central Forest Northern Highlands Northwest Lowlands Northwest Sands Northwest Lowlands Superior Coastal Plains Forest Transition